The TCM perspective
Dr Sunny Kim
Family Doctor and member of the China Institute of Accupuncture and Moxibustion, International Medical Centre
Beijing What skin conditions can develop during a cold winter?
The most common problem is dry, itchy skin. Decreased secretions from sebaceous and sweat glands can cause the loss of moisture from skin leaving it dry and chapped in winter.
What causes the problem from a traditional medicine perspective?
In TCM theory depletion of fluid, causing blood dryness, is the main reason for dry and itchy skin. Nourishing the blood and improving skin moisture are very important.
How can we care for skin at home using traditional methods?
When taking a shower, use warm water not hot and avoid scrubbing the skin. Use a moisture lotion after showering and before the skin dries. Try hard not to scratch.
Drink plenty of water and avoid spicy or greasy food. Chinese date, Chinese yam and honey nourish the blood and skin. Make Chinese herbal tea. Put Chinese date, angelica, wolfberry and honey into hot water. Drink two-to-three cups daily. This tea nourishes blood and skin and the ingredients are from the market or pharmacy.
What can a TCM doctor do to help that is different from Western medicine?
The goal of TCM is to regulate balance in the body. A TCM doctor will suggest a Chinese herbal prescription that is just right for you. To do this we use Chinese oral and topical herbal medicines and traditional techniques like acupuncture and cupping. These treatments help improve blood circulation, clear away heat and detoxify. People who have skin problems also often have accompanying symptoms such as constipation, indigestion, insomnia, headache and menstrual problems. TCM treatment doesn’t focus on only one problem separately, but aims to adjust the whole body to regulate balance and promote a healthy body for life.